On May 31, 2003, The Seattle Public Library's new Capitol Hill Branch opens to the public. The $5 million building replaces the Susan Henry Branch Library, which was built in 1954, at 425 Harvard Avenue E.
In 1954, the Susan Henry Branch library opened on land purchased with a gift from the Henry family as a memorial to their mother. The Henry branch served the Capitol Hill neighborhood and as a home for the Library for the Blind. The Library for the Blind -- later the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library -- moved out in 1973.
In 1998, Seattle voters approved the $196.4 million "Libraries For All" bond issue, which provided for replacement or renovation of existing branches, several new branches, and a new main library. The Library Board considered several proposals for siting the Capitol Hill Branch and decided to stick with the site of the existing branch.
The 11,215-square-foot building was designed by Johnston Architects and Cutler Architects. The new building is more than twice the size of the old one and can hold 40,000 books.
Deborah Carlton Harrell, "New $5 million Capitol Hill Library is One for the Books," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 31, 2003, p. B-1; Nguyen Huy Vu, "Opening-day Festivities to Include Speeches, Guest Readers, Conga Line," The Seattle Times, May 31, 2003, p. B-1; HistoryLink.org Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, "Henry Branch, The Seattle Public Library" (by Alan J. Stein), http://www.historylink.org/ (accessed June 2003).
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